The physical and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth increase the risk of experiencing leakage, and the risk of leakage, as you may have found, is higher when you sneeze, cough, laugh or even whilst you exercise.

Whilst you’re pregnant your bladder is under increased pressure from your uterus and you’ve got less room to store wee. During pregnancy your body is also producing progesterone, a muscle relaxant which weakens the effect of your pelvic floor muscles. It becomes more difficult for your pelvic floor muscles to stop the flow, so it’s certainly not uncommon that a little leak may catch you unawares.

Is it therefore any wonder that unexpected little leaks are so common during pregnancy?

During the first 1-2 weeks after the birth you’ll wee much more frequently as your body is ridding itself of all that extra fluid you retained during your pregnancy. Your pelvic floor muscles will have been stretched during pregnancy and not every part of us ‘instantly bounces’ back to the way it was pre-pregnancy, unfortunately.

Understandably, you’re going to be frustrated and, at times, embarrassed - after all, you can’t pick and choose the times you experience an oooops moment. You can of course mention your urinary leakage to your midwife or GP at your antenatal check ups. There are steps you can take, both to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and to deal with the leaks that commonly occurs during pregnancy and after childbirth.

For more information, visit How you can help yourself